Super Bowl Halftime Show: Performances From Pop Divas Ranked

The Super Bowl halftime show is an iconic annual moment in the queer calendar. It’s one of the rare moments when two worlds collide: sport and music

Often, the Super Bowl halftime show producers pick a fierce pop queen for the gig, meaning that gays across America are forced to sit through hours of a draining match in compensation for a heavy dose of pop. For one night only, the halftime show is an opportunity to bring the entirety of America into the world of pop music culture for a sweet 13 minutes. Here are some of the best halt-time performances from America’s biggest pop divas. 

Rihanna Super Bowl Halftime show
© People Magazine


Sitting at number 5 is this year’s half-time act, Rihanna. Rihanna has been away from the pop music circuit for almost 8 years. Despite this appalling long wait for new music, Rihanna’s fans have stuck by her, waiting patiently, and praying that new music will drop soon. Since Rihanna announced that the Super Bowl show would be her long-awaited return to music, fans were pretty much guaranteed a new song or news of a tour and album. Shockingly, this was far from the case. As lights turned on, and the music blasted, the camera zoomed out to show the singer rubbing her stomach. That’s right! She’s pregnant again! Sadly, Rihanna didn’t offer anything new in her show. It was a recycled mash-up of some of her greatest hits. Due to the minimal effort put into the performance, it is ranked at number 5 on our list.

Shakira and JLO Super Bowl Halftime show
© Shutterstock

Shakira and Jennifer Lopez

Back in 2020, Shakira and JLO exploded onto the Pepsi Half-Time show stage. It was a strange pairing, as both stars clearly had enough hits and stage presence to fill the 13 minutes individually. However, producers clearly knew what they were doing, as the pair were still able to cram in many of their great hits, whilst also maintaining a Latino synergy throughout the entire performance. The show was upbeat and had a series of incredible dance breaks – which helped to showcase their immense talent. Even though JLO and Shakira are far into their rich careers, they still managed to show why they are two of pop’s most incredible performers – and why they are worthy of sticking around for a while longer. 

© Washington Post


Despite the controversial miming, Madonna’s 2012 halftime show was a smooth and fashionable performance that cemented her title as the queen of pop. The show packs in some of her biggest hits, spanning a career of over 4 decades. Madonna first entered the stage in a regal headpiece, and on a golden throne… of course. She was then joined on stage by an army of music’s biggest stars (at the time), including, Cee Lo Green, LMFAO and Nicki Minaj. However, one of the most talked about moments didn’t come from Madonna, but from the rapper, M.I.A – who caught everyone off guard as she raised her middle finger live on TV and in front of the entire nation. Regardless of the blunder, Madonna managed to command the limelight back with an impeccable finale thanks to a gospel rendition of Like A Prayer. © Washington Post

Katy Perry Super Bowl Halftime Show
© The New Yorker

Katy Perry

Katy Perry’s performance was probably the most meme-able halftime show in history. Who can forget the dancing shark who walked aimlessly on stage, and messed up the entire choreography? For many artists, this would have derailed the show, but for Katy, the cheesier the better. The cringe moments aside, Katy delivered a polished 13-minute performance, complete with a special appearance from Missy Elliot and Lenny Kravitz. The show captured a once-in-a-generation popstar at her peak.

Lady Gaga
© AP Images

Lady Gaga

Snatching the number 1 spot is non-other than the new queen of pop herself, Lady Gaga. Since breaking out onto the pop scene in 2008 with Just Dance, Gaga’s career has only gone upwards. Unlike many other previous performers, Gaga’s vocals were 100% live. As well as being pitch-perfect, Gaga had intricate dance breaks, played a key guitar, synth and piano, and even jumped from the roof of the stadium. Gaga has always been a stellar performer, but the 2017 halftime show was the moment that Gaga showed an entire country just how exciting pop music can be. 

Comments are closed.